So far, Blockchain technology has been mostly implemented in real use cases in finance and the economy, while other spheres remained underexploited. But as time goes by, more and more projects begin cropping up in industries unrelated to finance.
Cointelegraph has already published articles on the use of Blockchain technology in the food, tourism, healthcare and energy industries and even distributed computation. Some of these use cases are quite raw and need a lot of work before they become feasible.
Let’s instead take a look at the cases where Blockchain solutions are more fleshed out.
The first sphere that deserves our attention is medicine. No doubt, just thinking about all the piles of paperwork that you have to deal with when taking care of your health, it’s enough to make you actually sick - and that’s just your paperwork. Now imagine how many patients attend any given hospital and how many files are being stored and managed there. The legacy record-keeping systems are not on par with the constantly growing numbers of people.
What if all the needed information on every patient would be stored at a single place online? That would be a major development for the healthcare industry. Blockchain technology is one of the best ways to provide this easy-to-access, secure online catalog.
According to Thomas Keenan, professor of environmental design and computer science at the University of Calgary: “A transaction in a Blockchain doesn’t have to represent a Bitcoin or even money.” As he told in his interview, the technology provides anonymity and can be used almost in every industry.
Specifically, the professor encourages others to use Blockchain technology in healthcare.
“In healthcare, the technology can be used for health records. In healthcare, a huge problem is that we want our health privacy but we also want the ER doctor to ‘know all about us’ immediately. Blockchain technology is capable of providing tamper-proof data management for medical records company. This can solve many problems for doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, lenders, and even patients.”
He mentions Factom, a Blockchain technology which provides a cataloging system for medical records. It cryptographically encrypts personal health info and protects the confidentiality of the patients.
Where to store medical data
Blockchain technologies can offer individuals a completely new and accurate way of storing their medical data. No state agency or private organization will be needed anymore to do the paperwork. Just imagine, all the information you need, you can get at home or from any other computer.
Patientory, a recently launched free-to-use app, is an example of Blockchain’s influence in this area. Users can create a profile in the app and keep track of their medical history. The app eliminates the chance of having this data suffer any kind of cyber attack. All the changes in the records can be seen online.
As a Blockchain-based application, Patientory employs their own cryptocurrency PTOY to provide some extra options for both doctors and patients. Doctors get private health information through the infrastructure on the Ethereum Blockchain. The patients will be allowed to buy extra storage space in the app for their info.
During its crowdsale on May 31, 2017, the company raised $7.2 mln. Patientory plans to become a “market network” so it’s important for them to distribute their cryptocurrency across a wide audience.
Blockchain revolution is a cutting edge development in medicine. It can easily guarantee the safety of one’s medical data and ensure better healthcare for the registered patients. When medical record-keeping starts running like a clock, many health problems won’t even appear in our lives.
Moving past healthcare, let’s take a look at the projects in the public services industry. After all, it’s just as important for a comfortable life.
From a technical position, we can find that some important data concerning our lives has been sealed from us. Not only does it complicate the situation, but it also sounds unfair. Transferring this data on a Blockchain would allow us to share it with third parties in case they are trusted. At the same time, the technology would ensure that all the info stays authentic and confidential.
Blockchain technology can simplify the information flow and make it easier for the relevant government agencies to access it. For example, banks and insurance companies have shown superior interest in it. Some prototypes have already been tested.
Nick Williamson, the CEO of Credits, a London-based Blockchain infrastructure provider, also reports that a larger percentage of use-cases involving Blockchain will be non-financial. That’s why the British government started examining if Blockchain could be helpful in tracking and distributing welfare and pension payments.
The Five Star Movement, the biggest Italian opposition group, also maintains this idea as it wants Blockchain to be used to upgrade and put public services in order. Step by step, it becomes clear that governments are opening up to new technologies. They even fund some specific projects in order to speed up the process of change.
The pros of non-financial Blockchain apps
Adopting Blockchain in various applications can save time and effort in the long run.
Additionally, these solutions can be environmentally-friendly, as they eliminate huge amounts of paperwork - it is reported, that the US government alone wastes more than $440 mln worth of paper each year. Blockchain can be used to protect identity and keep sensitive data safe from any hacking attempts.
All in all, non-financial Blockchain applications are a wide industry in need of further research. Soon we will see even more great projects come to life.